I really enjoyed this book by Matt Haig. It's part memoir, part essay, part blog post.
First of all, the author does a great job at narrating it. It felt like I was having a conversation as I nodded and sighed at various passages.
His personal stories add a lot of depth to the discussion: how can we be sane in a world that bombards us with information.
It's a call to quieter lifestyle and makes us think about our standard behaviors. And it's all in the little things: watch the stars, observe the clouds, listen to the birds, read a book, appreciate music, have a conversation in person without looking at your phone.
I loved a chapter where he talks about books and reading:
“Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action.”
― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet
And there is a look of talk about self image which is particularly relevant in today's Instagram's selfies:
“Remember no one really cares what you look like. They care what they look like. You are the only person in the world to have worried about your face.”
― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet
It was a refreshing read (or should I say “listen”?). It's about living. And being happy. And embracing what is important. Letting go of the burden.
We had a sunny and warm day today!
I think it was the first warm of the year, actually. First weekend with temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius.
There was one thing I've been wanting to do for more than a year now: go bike in one of the roads they close on Sunday mornings.
I finally did it and it was great!
I knew I was bit out of shape to go for long bike rides so 20km was just about right.
1) Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) by Martha Wells
* Another adventure with the anti-social murder bot. It is full of action inside enclosed spaces and lots of hearing other people's feeds. An enjoyable read, as always.
2) The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne, #1) by Myke Cole
* This was a dark-grim book! Darker than I expected.
The horror is raw and gory. It's a harsh world with a religious fanatic Order, tyranny and dominated people. I was expecting lighter moments throughout the story but I would definitely consider it dark fantasy. Not really my cup of tea.
3) Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski
* I loved the idea of “ending the stress cycle” and learning the differences between the stressors and the stress itself. Exercise (aka moving our bodies) is one of the best ways to discharge and close the stress cycle. With this book I realized how and why exercise is essential to my well-being. I always knew but I've never linked it directly to the stress cycle.
4) Saga, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)
* There's no way you can't love the characters. It's just mindbogglingly full of creativity, emotion and authenticity. I read volumes 1 & 2 for a Bookclub meeting, which was awesome! I will continue reading the series for sure.
“I sometimes feel like my head is a computer with too many windows open. Too much clutter on the desktop. There is a metaphorical spinning rainbow wheel inside me. Disabling me. And if only I could find a way to switch off some of the frames, if only I could drag some of the clutter into the trash, then I would be fine. But which frame would I choose, when they all seem so essential? How can I stop my mind being overloaded when the world is overloaded? We can think about anything. And so it makes sense that we end up thinking about everything. We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.”
― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet
It's part of my morning routine because I think it's a great way to wake my body up with a combination of stretching and strengthening. It's a great way to train focus and breathing. I love it because I can do it anywhere! No need for shoes or equipment. I only need some space and a mat. Well, even a mat is not mandatory. I can do standing poses series if I happen to be somewhere where I can't lay down on the floor.
Last year I started using an app called Down Dog for my yoga sessions at home. It was perfect for what I wanted: choose a duration and a style and just go with it without too much thought. Without the talk. Just a series that I could follow. And with variety and difficulty levels. I can do a relaxing slow session or an intense Vinyasa flow. It can be as short or as long as I want.
Along with meditation, Yoga is my sanity check. The thing that I do to ground myself. Adjust perspective. And be ready to face my day. It can also be the thing to calm my mind after a stressing day. Moving and breathing.
I heard about this book on Sam Harris' “Making Sense” podcast. The topic interested me so I picked this one up. I did not love it. It was okay to a certain point but then I felt that the chapters were getting a little bit repetitive.
This one was fun and comforting. Also it was my first time listening to a fiction book. It has the old Dungeons & Dragons feeling: cool characters, adventures and lots of talk about swords. It is not a dark fantasy and at some points the story is predictable because it contains some classic fantasy tropes: good vs evil, chaotic-neutral thieves, elves and dwarves, a really old and powerful mage, a prophecy. But that doesn't spoil it. A good book to read under a blanket.
I did not like this book. Maybe it just wasn't for me. When you get into the details of being a werewolf, the pain, the tearing of clothing and the wild hunger, it just puts me off. Maybe I don't like shapeshifters at all.
This book is way more action packed than the first one. It feels more sci-fy-ish with a great deal of ordinary human life details. And that makes the story and the characters feel alive. Diversity, racism and human rights discussions are intertwined with the story. There is even a Brazilian astronaut that curses in Portuguese. Anyway, highly recommended as an entertaining and exciting soft sci-fi read!
A short story about older Elma and Nathaniel living in Mars. It happens 30 years after Elma joined the expedition to Mars. It's sad and hopeful at the same time. Will Elma go on another space travel exploration or will she stay and watch her husband die? I read it in one sitting.
An evolutionary perspective with science mixing up with anthropology, politics, culture, religion, biology, economics, history.
It's a fascinating read and it made me think about many things and change my world view. It gives us a higher perspective on how we got here and leaves an open question as to why we are here.
A fun read, as always. But something about werewolves started to bother me. And all the fictional “aether” and “soul” content theories that governs this world. It's extremely well built but my suspension of disbelief was not so strong while I was reading this book. Overall it's a great steampunk fantasy, with lots of Victorian humor!
Reading plans for April:
Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff
Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) by Martha Wells
Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4) by Martha Wells
In these days of misinformation, fake news and click baits it's good to have some initiatives to teach us how to navigate this messy digital information ocean (or hell...).
And Crash Course – Navigating Digital Information is an excellent way to learn about media literacy. The host is John Green, also known as the author of the novel “The fault in our stars” who, along with his brother, Hank Green, has this more than 10-years-old YouTube channel (Vlogbrothers).
Navigating Digital Information is a 10-episode series that was developed in partnership with the Poynter Institute Media Wise project based on research form the Stanford History Education Group.
The series covers topics like:
– Lateral reading and fact checking
– How to use Wikipedia (and how it is awesome!)
– How to evaluate photos and videos
– How to read charts and graphics (and how to be critical about them!)
– How to know who to trust online.
I highly recommend this series to everyone that uses the Internet, no matter the age.
I've reached the end of my Beginners Level 2 ice skating course. ☃
The thing about learning how to ice skate as an adult is that the learning process is painfully slow. And I say “painfully” in the literal sense of the word. It involves learning how to fall and how to get up on ice. It is challenging! Specially for me who had zero experience on the ice.
Last winter I took the Level 1 course (Intro to Ice) which taught me how to fall, how to get up and how to stand up on ice skates. I could barely glide forward. I would usually fall a few moments after I entered the rink. I could take little steps forward and I was terrified most of the time. I can say it was one of the most challenging things I've done in my adult life!
But now, 18 hours of ice skating later and feeling more confident, I feel way less afraid. There is a point in the learning process where you stop struggling with the laws of physics on having no friction under your feet, and start to actually just glide. But you gotta keep your balance. And that takes a lot of brain and muscle power!
Until now, while I'm skating forward, there is that awkwardness and wobbly body movements that denotes a beginner ice skater. But I feel completely satisfied with my progression! It was hard work!
So now I can say I find ice skating relaxing even when I'm struggling with it. It's a weird combination.
It's one of those activities that requires mindfulness. Full focus. Concentration. And I think that is what makes it so rewarding in the end. It combines difficulty with fun.
These are the techniques I want to improve: stopping, one foot glide, backwards C-pushes (also known as “half-bubbles” and T-pushes.
And I can't wait to take the next course! I am ready for more!
While I wait, I will continue going to the ice rink on weekends to practice until they are available to the public (you know, summer is coming).